EP2122432A1 - Voltage limiter and protection for a photovoltaic module - Google Patents

Voltage limiter and protection for a photovoltaic module

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Publication number
EP2122432A1
EP2122432A1 EP20080709081 EP08709081A EP2122432A1 EP 2122432 A1 EP2122432 A1 EP 2122432A1 EP 20080709081 EP20080709081 EP 20080709081 EP 08709081 A EP08709081 A EP 08709081A EP 2122432 A1 EP2122432 A1 EP 2122432A1
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EP
European Patent Office
Prior art keywords
means
voltage
device according
switch
device
Prior art date
Legal status (The legal status is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the status listed.)
Granted
Application number
EP20080709081
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German (de)
French (fr)
Other versions
EP2122432B1 (en
Inventor
Pierre Perichon
Daniel Chatroux
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Commissariat a lEnergie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
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Commissariat a lEnergie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
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Family has litigation
Priority to FR0753383A priority Critical patent/FR2912848B1/en
Application filed by Commissariat a lEnergie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives filed Critical Commissariat a lEnergie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives
Priority to PCT/EP2008/051947 priority patent/WO2008101902A1/en
Publication of EP2122432A1 publication Critical patent/EP2122432A1/en
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Publication of EP2122432B1 publication Critical patent/EP2122432B1/en
First worldwide family litigation filed litigation Critical https://patents.darts-ip.com/?family=38476867&utm_source=google_patent&utm_medium=platform_link&utm_campaign=public_patent_search&patent=EP2122432(A1) "Global patent litigation dataset” by Darts-ip is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02HEMERGENCY PROTECTIVE CIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS
    • H02H3/00Emergency protective circuit arrangements for automatic disconnection directly responsive to an undesired change from normal electric working condition with or without subsequent reconnection ; integrated protection
    • H02H3/08Emergency protective circuit arrangements for automatic disconnection directly responsive to an undesired change from normal electric working condition with or without subsequent reconnection ; integrated protection responsive to excess current
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H01BASIC ELECTRIC ELEMENTS
    • H01LSEMICONDUCTOR DEVICES; ELECTRIC SOLID STATE DEVICES NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • H01L31/00Semiconductor devices sensitive to infra-red radiation, light, electromagnetic radiation of shorter wavelength or corpuscular radiation and adapted either for the conversion of the energy of such radiation into electrical energy or for the control of electrical energy by such radiation; Processes or apparatus peculiar to the manufacture or treatment thereof or of parts thereof; Details thereof
    • H01L31/02Details
    • H01L31/02016Circuit arrangements of general character for the devices
    • H01L31/02019Circuit arrangements of general character for the devices for devices characterised by at least one potential jump barrier or surface barrier
    • H01L31/02021Circuit arrangements of general character for the devices for devices characterised by at least one potential jump barrier or surface barrier for solar cells
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H02GENERATION; CONVERSION OR DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRIC POWER
    • H02HEMERGENCY PROTECTIVE CIRCUIT ARRANGEMENTS
    • H02H7/00Emergency protective circuit arrangements specially adapted for specific types of electric machines or apparatus or for sectionalised protection of cable or line systems, and effecting automatic switching in the event of an undesired change from normal working conditions
    • H02H7/20Emergency protective circuit arrangements specially adapted for specific types of electric machines or apparatus or for sectionalised protection of cable or line systems, and effecting automatic switching in the event of an undesired change from normal working conditions for electronic equipment
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02EREDUCTION OF GREENHOUSE GAS [GHG] EMISSIONS, RELATED TO ENERGY GENERATION, TRANSMISSION OR DISTRIBUTION
    • Y02E10/00Energy generation through renewable energy sources
    • Y02E10/50Photovoltaic [PV] energy

Abstract

The invention relates to a voltage limiter device (8) for an assembly of photovoltaic modules, that comprises: means (Z1) defining an electronic switch for the current of said assembly; comparison means (Comp, R1, R2, C2) for comparing a limiter output voltage with a reference voltage value (Vref ); means (11) for controlling the means defining the electronic switch based on the results of the comparison made by the comparison means.

Description

LIMITING VOLTAGE PROTECTION OF A SOLAR MODULE

DESCRIPTION

TECHNICAL FIELD AND PRIOR ART

The invention relates to an electronic device voltage limiter type. It is applied with advantage to one or more photovoltaic modules, it provides protection. Currently, mainly known

3 types of photovoltaic modules: monocrystalline, polycrystalline and amorphous. The amorphous technology has some advantages, especially in terms of flexibility and low amount of materials used. The voltage and current charged by the photovoltaic modules depends on several parameters (sunshine, temperature), and may vary in a significant way.

Figure 1 shows the typical feature of a photovoltaic module according to 1 'received light (200 to 1000 W / cm2). The current delivered by the module varies depending on the illuminance (proportionally in a first approximation). The voltage itself remains virtually constant.

The operating points Pl, P2, ... Pn on the characteristic curves of Figure 1 are the points where the module outputs the maximum power for a given illumination. Note that the voltage at this point is the maximum voltage that can appear across the module. It is best to zero current when the module is open or when the energy is not absorbed. This maximum voltage is dependent to a significant extent on the temperature: it is -156mV / ° K for a monocrystalline module -176mV / ° K for an amorphous module. It therefore increases at low temperatures. This variation is much more important for amorphous modules.

To optimize energy production, electronic converters connected to the PV modules required operating voltage of the modules so that they produce maximum power (this function is called: MPPT = "Maximum power point tracking" ). The converters can, however, see their entries under certain conditions, a much higher voltage that corresponds to the open circuit voltage.

The converters must have a voltage operating range of their entry for the full potential change in voltage across the modules in all conditions. The ratio between the voltage corresponding to maximum power and the open-circuit voltage of the operating voltage range can reach 1.4 to monocrystalline or polycrystalline modules and up to 1.6 for amorphous. In practice, it is desirable that the converter input voltage ranges are further extended to allow the possibility of connecting in series different numbers of modules according to the implementation of photovoltaic panels or individual voltages thereof. A problem with the known devices is the association of the converters and of the module rows.

For technical reasons (eg placed on a roof modules, converters being in technical areas) and legal (property line), it often happens that the power converters are installed far enough photovoltaic modules producing energy . To reduce resistive losses in cables, we associate the modules in series to increase the voltage and reduce the current.

On the other hand, the sizes of photovoltaic cells are standard and tend to increase: 4 to 6 inches today and even 8 inches. The power from a cell depends on its surface irradiance course. The tension in turn, depends on the material. The voltage and power supplied by a module which is an assembly of cells in series, are thus intimately linked. Similarly, the power and the voltage of an input of a converter are linked: the higher the power is high and the acceptable voltage converter input must be high.

The converter, it is constructed to provide maximum power and is able to operate over a given range of input voltage. This voltage range has a significant impact on the design of the converter and thus ultimately on the cost.

Due to the large temperature variations in voltage and / or between idling and maximum power point already set out above, a single serial module assembly may be connected to the input of a converter and without actual possibility of evolution. All these constraints and significantly limit flexibility in the implementation of photovoltaic plants by imposing the size of the modules, their numbers and characteristics of converters. The architects therefore have only limited flexibility in integration and field sizes of photovoltaic modules.

Finally, a facility being made, it is very difficult to evolve gradually adding modules (when changing a budget for example). It is necessary that the installation is complete from the beginning and developments may not be gradual.

This raises a problem that is able to associate and adapt more readily modules. Moreover photovoltaic systems have very different characteristics from those of conventional power grids.

Indeed, the modules provide DC when they are illuminated. Photovoltaic systems are becoming increasingly powerful, tensions have can be several hundred volts DC (typically between 200V and 400V). The currents also become important, typically 1OA to 2OA per circuit. These high voltages and currents in the photovoltaic field trips are dangerous, and without real possibility for the user to interrupt the generator.

The connection and disconnection modules and converters must often be in operation, with a significant risk, which is the one to generate a destructive arc for electrical connections and dangerous for the user. This arc is all the more dangerous it is created by direct current, so no natural zero crossing. It can, under certain conditions, to initiate and be serviced without stopping like a AC.

The usual protections (circuit breakers and fuses) do not detect these arcs and are therefore not effective. On the other hand, they do not properly provide protection against short circuits and overloads, because the short circuit currents supplied by photovoltaic fields are very close to nominal currents (about 1.2 times). Circuit breakers and fuses are generally expected to pass 1.15 times the rated current without triggering; beyond, the opening time is even longer than the current is close to the rated current. Finally, switches, circuit breakers and fuses with great difficulty interrupt direct currents.

Although the connections of photovoltaic modules among themselves and with the converters are made with special waterproof connectors with good user protection against direct contact, it poses a user's protection issue during connection and disconnection modules.

DISCLOSURE OF INVENTION

According to the invention, is inserted in the electrical circuit between the photovoltaic field and the inverter, an electronic limiter.

The invention first relates to a voltage limiting device of a set of photovoltaic modules comprising:

- means electronic switch of a current of said assembly,

- comparison means for comparing a limiter output voltage to a reference voltage value,

- control means of the electronic switch means, based on the result of the comparison by the comparing means. Such a device according to the invention allows to limit the open circuit voltage output of the modules to reduce stresses on the converters and wiring. It facilitates the realization of a photovoltaic system by allowing a simpler and more versatile adaptation module fields to inverters.

Such a device may further comprise means for filtering the voltage measured at the limiter output.

A device according to the invention may further comprise means for smoothing an output voltage of the limiting device.

Means may be provided for sensing a rapid increase in the output voltage of the limiting device.

The device then ensures the protection of the user by eliminating a possible electric arc occurring due to a disconnection occurring during operation of the connection between the photovoltaic modules and converters.

According to one embodiment, the means for detecting a rapid rise of the voltage comprise means for calculating the time derivative of the output voltage of the limiting device.

According to another embodiment the comparison of the reference voltage is set to a value greater than the voltage corresponding to maximum power of the photovoltaic module, for example to a value greater than the voltage corresponding to maximum power of the photovoltaic module, increased by a voltage V strictly positive and less than the voltage generated by an electric arc. adaptation means of the reference voltage may be provided. Furthermore, a device according to one invention may further comprise short-circuit detecting means. It then protects short circuits at the output of the photovoltaic module: the short-circuit detection means controls the opening of the switch means.

For example, the short-circuit detection means comprises a current sensor disposed downstream of one switch and second comparison means for comparing a measurement outcome of this sensor has a reference value. means for controlling the electronic switch means enable to open or close the switch means based on the result of the comparison by the second comparison means.

First and second switch means may be arranged respectively in input and output of the device.

energy absorbing means may be disposed between the two terminals of the switch means, in order to clip overvoltages generated when opening of the switch means.

The invention also relates to a voltage limiting process of a photovoltaic module, comprising the implementation of a device according to the invention, as set forth above.

The invention also relates to a device for producing energy, comprising:

- at least one photovoltaic module, - a device according to the invention, as explained above, - means electronic converter, to impose an operating voltage of the photovoltaic module.

A device according to the invention can be placed at the output of the photovoltaic modules and upstream of the power converters and perform several functions.

Some of the functions of a device according to the invention, for example the comparison functions, can be performed in an analog manner or a digital manner using for example a microcontroller.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

- Figure 1 shows current / voltage characteristics of an amorphous photovoltaic module, based on 1 illumination, 25 ° C,

- Figure 2 shows a general structure of a photovoltaic installation, comprising a voltage limiter according to the invention,

- Figures 3A and 3B show the two voltage limiters device structure according to the invention,

- Figures 4, 6 and 9 are various detailed views of a device according

1 invention,

- Figure 8 illustrates the structure of an electric arc established,

- Figures 5, 7A-7C, 1OA, 1Ob, 11 represent various electrical quantities measured in devices according to embodiments 1 invention.

DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS DETAILED OF INVENTION

2 shows a first embodiment of the invention: an electronic limiter is inserted in the electrical circuit, between a photovoltaic field, and a converter.

Thus, in this figure are shown three photovoltaic fields 2, 4, 6, a voltage limiter 8 according to the invention, and a converter 10 connected to the power line 12. The invention is not limited to three photovoltaic fields but applies to any number of these fields. In the following text, it means all the photovoltaic field only by the reference number 2.

The voltage limiter device 8 according to the invention is placed between the photovoltaic modules 2 and the power converter 10. It is placed, preferably, closer to the photovoltaic modules, to ensure the most effective protection against arcs and electrical short circuits.

The ideal place is a facility directly output photovoltaic module.

The limiter device 8 provides a vacuum limiting the voltage generated by the photovoltaic field and view the connection cables and the input of converter 10.

3A shows a block diagram of a voltage limiter 8 according to the invention. Such a device comprises means Zl electronic switch, for interrupting the direct current (e.g.

insulated-gate bipolar transistor or IGBT or MOSFET) is charged by the photovoltaic field.

Side of the converter 10, a capacitor C smoothes the voltage seen by the input of this converter. A comparator Compl driver, via the connection means 11, the switch Zl, by comparing the output voltage of the voltage limiter, via the bridge divider Rl and R2, a reference voltage Vref. The device may further comprise a component Z2, for example a Zener diode, means for energy absorption, which clips the overvoltages generated by the wiring inductances upstream and downstream of the device to the opening of the switch Zl. This function of suppressors, in parallel with the switch Zl, can be performed by external components, or by the choice of components intrinsically clipping, that is to say, supporting the avalanche mode. This is the case for many transistors, for example MOSFETs.

A filter capacitor C2 the voltage measured by R1 / R2 to limit the Zl switch switching frequency. This function can also be fulfilled by a hysteresis (directed by a resistance against reaction) disposed at the terminals of the comparator Compl.

3B shows a block diagram of another voltage limiter 8 according to the invention. It comprises the same means as the diagram of Figure 3A. These same means are designated by the same reference numbers and corresponding explanations will not be repeated.

This other limiter further comprises a current sensor downstream of the Zl switch. In Figure 3B, this sensor is designated by the reference

Imes. The short circuit current of a PV module is very close to its rated current

(There is only about 15 to 20% difference). Detecting the short-circuit is thus made by comparing through a comparator Comp2, the current Imes sensor to a threshold Vref2, equal to the nominal current normally provided by the photovoltaic module plus a fraction, eg 10%, this nominal current. When the threshold is exceeded, controls the opening of the switch Zl through a RS flip-flop (which stores the presence of the short - circuit) and through an AND gate that controls the switch Zl. The latter, an electronic switch interrupts the direct current supplied by the photovoltaic modules. In this scheme, Zl is activated when the two inputs of the AND gate are at "1". The other input of this gate being the output of comparator Compl, abnormal voltage (too high) or an abnormal current (too high) thus causes an opening of Zl.

The above devices are analog realizations. The same functionality can be achieved by digital means. For example or Compl and / or Comp 2 comparators are replaced in the above schemes by mcirocontrôleur in which we introduce the voltage values ​​measured and digitized. In the following we will mainly refer to the analog embodiment of Figures 3A and 3B, but all can be transposed to the digital embodiment. A device according to the invention has several modes in operation.

In a first embodiment, the converter 10 is stopped, and the photovoltaic field 2 is in operation. The invention then makes it possible to limit the voltage generated by the photovoltaic field 2 and seen by the converter 10 to a value a little higher than the voltage corresponding to the maximum power point (the notion maximum power and maximum power points Pl, P2, ... Pn has already been explained above in conjunction with Figure 1). In this mode, the converter 10 does not absorb current.

When Zl switch is initially closed, the capacitor Cl charges through Zl, photovoltaic cells 2 acting as current generators.

When the voltage across Cl, measured by the voltage divider R1 / R2 exceeds the value Vref, the comparator Compl rocker, opening the switch Zl.

The voltage at Cl terminals then slowly decreases, due to leakage currents through the converter 10 and through the other elements. The comparator Compl having, as already explained above, a slight hysteresis (or a filter such as C2), it switches back when the voltage across Cl reaches the low threshold, thus closing the switch Zl in the case of Figure 3A. In the case of Figure 3B a second condition, that of a normal current (no short - circuit) is added to the first to close Zl.

The cycle thus begins again regularly at a frequency dependent on the value of the components, leakage currents, the hysteresis of the comparator etc .. The voltage at Cl terminals is thus regulated to a value set by the reference comparator. This value is set to be slightly above the voltage corresponding to maximum power of the photovoltaic field 2, and preferably much lower than the voltage generated in vacuum by this field. For example, for a photovoltaic field amorphous cells, the open circuit voltage is 400V, the voltage at maximum power point is 250V (about 400 V / 1.6). The device then limits the voltage to 300 V. The power converter 10 therefore sees a reduced voltage at its terminals is 300 V instead of 400 V.

According to a second mode of operation, the converter 10 is in operation, and the photovoltaic field 2, 4, 6. When the converter is enabled, it consumes a large current. The voltage at the terminals Cl and decreases very rapidly drops below the reference of the comparator Compl, and the latter closes the switch Zl. The converter 10 requires a voltage corresponding to the supply of the maximum power from the photovoltaic field. The voltage measured by R1 / R2 does not therefore rises above the reference value Vref for the latter was set to a voltage across Cl slightly greater than the optimum power voltage of the field. The Zl switch remains closed at all times, thus feeding the converter 10.

In a third operating mode, there is open circuit between the limiting device 8 and the converter 10. This opening may result from the opening, accidental or otherwise, to a connector or an electrical connection between the means 8 and the converter 10 (at the input of converter 10 for example). Then there is instantaneous appearance of an electric arc between an anode A and cathode C.

Figure 8 shows the simplified structure of an electric arc.

Schematically, the latter consists of several zones between an anode A and a cathode C: two zones 80, 82 of space charge, near the electrodes, each of which is thin (a few microns), relatively cold (temperature <1000 0 K), and an intermediate zone 84, which is the heart of the arc and which consists of a very hot plasma (temperature> few thousand 0 K). Areas 80, 82 transition electrode / air generate a voltage drop substantially independent of the current of about 10 V to 20 V. The intermediate region 84 behaves as a resistor generating a voltage drop proportional to the current. When the current is interrupted, the area 84 is still very long hot (cooling by convection and radiation into the environment that is to say the air, a thermal insulator) and thus remain highly conductive. For against loads in the zones 80 and 88 recombine very rapidly when the current is interrupted, and very quickly revert insulating (in a few microseconds after current blocking). An electric arc thus generates instantly (within a few microseconds) to its appearance, a voltage drop of at least 10 V to 20 V. capacities placed at the input of converter, are of high value to Cl. The voltage at their terminals therefore varies much more slowly than the voltage across Cl.

To protect the user of the electric arc, this rapid increase is detected in the voltage at Cl terminals (this is for example a change of approximately 20 V in a few ms). Note that the normal voltage variation due to the search of the optimum operating point of the photovoltaic module by the converter is much slower (among others due to the strong capabilities present in converter input). This rapid change in voltage is therefore linked to the onset of the electric arc.

The assembly detects this change in voltage by adjusting the reference Vref of the comparator Compl to a value equal to the voltage corresponding to maximum power of the photovoltaic module a voltage + V, 0V <V '<the voltage generated by the electric arc (which is for example of the order of 10 V).

It is also possible to detect the sudden variation in this voltage by calculating its derivative, e.g. by a microcontroller such as that already discussed above in conjunction with Figures 3A and 3B (which replaces the comparator Compl and / or Comp2), and comparing this value to a pre-defined threshold. This voltage is present at the C terminal when the system is in the second mode of operation described previously. The system can operate by measuring the voltage and automatically adapting the voltage reference (learning). In fact, normal for this voltage variations are slow: a few volts per second (searching for the optimum operating point by the MPPT function of the converter (function already mentioned above: "maximum power point tracking"), voltage variation of the field PV due to temperature changes). A sliding filter of this voltage over a certain period (of, e.g., 10 minutes) to determine the reference voltage (the latter changes very slowly over time). A sudden variation with respect to this average is abnormal and corresponds to the appearance of an electric arc. These functions can be performed digitally with a microcontroller, such as that already mentioned above. They can also be realized in analog fashion. Once the voltage variation is detected, Zl is open to interrupt the current and thereby remove the nascent electric arc. This detection and this opening is very fast, the arc is very low amplitude and therefore safe.

A device according to the invention therefore also provides an interrupt function of the current without arcing during an intentional or accidental disconnection during operation of the connection between the photovoltaic modules 2 and the converter 10.

As explained above, this feature of interruption without arcing current during a disconnection preferably uses a particular setting of the device.

In a fourth mode of operation, it detects short circuits. Protection against short circuits is performed by the device of Figure 3B, already described above Imes. The detection of short circuit is done by comparing, through the comparator COMP2, the sensor current to a threshold equal to the nominal current normally provided by the photovoltaic module plus a fraction, eg 10%, of the rated current. When the threshold is exceeded, controls the opening of the switch Zl through the RS flip-flop and the AND gate. The Zl electronic switch interrupts the direct current supplied by the photovoltaic modules.

Effective protection against short circuits is realized by an electronic detection of overcurrent by measuring current and comparing this measurement to a reference value. Various more specific embodiments of a device according to the invention will be set forth in connection with Figures 4-11.

These embodiments implement the principles outlined above. The means of Figure 3B are not shown in these figures but can be incorporated. Figures 4 to 11, the means 32, 34 respectively carry out the comparison functions (Compl of Figure 3) and the driver Zl switch (insulated control gate for an IGBT or Mosfet under a voltage of 10V from its source or transmitter). This function is integrated throughout as the driver IGBT or MOSFET; it is also possible to realize it with a photo-coupler and two transistors connected in push-pull.

The other parts are modeled with real components. Not represented means of protection against short circuits, such as Imes means, Comp 2, RS, AND of 3B. But these means could be added without changing the presented models.

Simulations of these schemes were made with "Pspice" (that is commercial software for the simulation of electronic schematics. It is sold by Cadence) to validate. It therefore presents each pattern with its simulation.

A first detailed embodiment is illustrated in Figure 4, in which a photovoltaic module 2, for example 200 open-circuit voltage V and 4A short-circuiting, is modeled by components II (current source), the zener diode D4, resistor R4 (value for example 100 000 Ohm), all three disposed in parallel, a resistor R3 (value for example 0.001 Ω) being arranged in module entry. The numerical values ​​of components indicated in this Figure or in the corresponding text, are purely indicative and non-limiting. A resistor R7 to measure what comes out of the photovoltaic module 2.

The components Zl, Cl, Rl, R2, C2, Vref, are those already mentioned above in connection with FIGS 3A and 3B, and with the same functions. RIO, C5 and RThere form a low pass filter to eliminate possible parasitic oscillations comparator Compl. These means, in combination with the means 32, 34, used to model a voltage limiter according to the invention. R12 resistor (value of eg 20

Ω), disposed at the input of voltage limiter, is one which simulates a converter such as converter 10 (Figure 2) in operation.

Of Ul and U2 switches are arranged respectively between the photovoltaic module 2 and the limiter 8, and between the latter and the converter 10. Opening periods values ​​(topen) or closure (Tclose) of these switches are shown in this figure as non-limiting example. It is the same for the other values ​​for these switches or other components, whether in Figure 4, or in the other figures (eg U3 in Figure 9).

The simulation results of this scheme are illustrated in Figure 5. In this figure, the curves I and II, respectively:

- curve I: measuring the voltage V across R7 (output module)

- curve II: measuring the voltage V2 Rl terminals (the output of the servo). The simulation is divided into three temporal phases, activated by 2 Ul and U2 switches:

A / WHO 5 ms: Ul the switch is opened, the servo and the converter 10 are switched off. VI is a measure of the open circuit voltage of the photovoltaic module or 200V.

On the simulation, it appears that the voltage across the module is 200 V and the voltage V2 output from the control (curve II) is 0 V. B / 5 ms to 25 ms: the switch is Ul U2 closed and the switch is open.

The servo is active and the converter 10 is turned off.

On the simulation, it appears (curve I) and the voltage V at the terminals of the photovoltaic module is substantially all the time at 200 V (load voltage) except when the servo takes a little energy. As for the voltage V2 at the output of the control (curve II) is controlled to 130 V (maximum voltage seen by the converter). C / 25 ms at the end of the simulation, the switch is closed Ul and U2 switch is closed. The converter 10 is active and takes power (4A for a resistance of 20 ohms, an imposed voltage of 80 V).

The enslavement regulates more and IGBT Zl is then permanently closed to allow the transfer of power to the converter 10 with minimum loss. On the simulation, it appears that the voltage V across the terminals of the photovoltaic module (curve I) and the voltage V2 output from the control (curve II) are practically identical, the voltage drop of the IGBT near and equal to the voltage imposed by the converter 10.

The diagram in Figure 4 does not include wiring inductances that will generate overvoltage blocking IGBT Zl.

To take account of these inductances, a modified scheme can be that shown in Figure 6. This is shown in FIG 4, to which are added:

- an inductor Ll, to take account of wiring inductances between the photovoltaic modules 2 and the device 8 of the voltage limiting (vacuum)

- an inductor L2 to take account of downstream inductances of the device 8 for voltage limiting, up to the converter 10. The inductance per unit length of the exemplary plug cable is lμH / m. So we simulate 25 m cable to / upstream of the device and 50 m to / downstream. Zener diode D2 disposed in parallel to the component Zl, absorbs the overvoltages generated by the inductor Ll at the terminals of the switch Ul, when it is opened. The efficiency of the converter 10 does not matter, we can consider dissipate this energy.

The diode D4 (of equal voltage, for example, about 1000 V), disposed parallel with the capacitor Cl, is used to freewheel the inducance L2 when U2 closes.

The results of the simulation of this scheme are illustrated in Figures 7A-7C.

The phases of the simulation are the same as for the first pattern A / 0 to 5 ms: vacuum photovoltaic module,

B / 5 ms to 25 ms: photovoltaic module and device 8 for limiting both in operation, C / 25 ms at the end: photovoltaic module, device 8 operating limitation converter 10 and supported.

The curve of Figure 7A shows the voltage V, upstream of the limiting device 8; it shows the overvoltage generated by the inductor Ll upstream and absorbed by the Zener diode D2.

The curve of Figure 7B shows the average power Pm by the diode D2 across the IGBT Zl. This power is reasonable and easy to dissipate into a component (5 mW for example). The curve in Figure 7C represents:

- the voltage V2 at the output of the limitation device 8 on the side of the converter 10,

- the voltage VO at the output of the photovoltaic modules 2.

A third detailed embodiment is illustrated in Figure 9.

The diagram of Figure 6, is added a simplified model of boost converter 10: CO a capacity (e.g., 220 uF), an inductor L3 (eg lOOμH) and resistor R12. The inductance L3 of the resistor R12 are connected in series, the CO capacity is disposed in parallel to the terminals of this assembly. The inductor L2 represents the inductance of cables between the limiter 8 and the converter 10 while the resistor RO is the resistance of this cable (its inclusion reduces the oscillations of the LC circuits). A switch U3, and a Zener diode D3 connected in parallel, are a simplified model of an electric arc and the voltage it generates when powered by a current (voltage of about 20 V). U3 is opened after 100 ms to simulate a load opening of a connector with the appearance of an electric arc.

The structure of an electric arc has already been explained above in conjunction with Figure 8.

For the simulation, is modeled by the arc voltage of 20V (that of the zener diode D3) and it is checked whether it is possible to detect this voltage (and the occurrence of an arc) at the limiter 8 voltage, or a conductor disposed between the limiter 8 and the converter 10 and opened over by the user. The curves of Figures 1OA and 1Ob show the result of simulations of this 3 rd embodiment. In these figures:

- I (RO) represents the current downstream of the device. This current is highly oscillatory (hence the schematic black), which is due to the L2C1 circuit simulation,

- the curves of FIG 1Ob ​​represent voltage measurements: a) curve III: voltage V (again very oscillatory) upstream of the device; Vl also extends beyond approximately 15 ms, within the IV curves, b) curve IV: voltage V2 downstream of the device, across the bridge divider Rl, R2 used for voltage measurement. The simulation also revealed portions or oscillations before t = 15 ms.

It is clearly seen a voltage variation at the opening of U3 corresponding to the load opening of the connector. The enlargement of Figure

11 shows clearly that transition, around t =

100 ms.

These simulations show that the opening of an electrical connector supported downstream of a device 8 according to the invention is detectable from the voltage measurement.

Claims

1. A device (8) voltage limiter of a set of photovoltaic modules (2,4,6), comprising:
- means (Zl) forming a current set of said electronic switch, to interrupt a current supplied by said set of modules, - first comparison means
(Compl, Rl, R2, C2) for comparing a limiter output voltage to a reference voltage value (Vref),
- means (Suppl 11) for controlling the electronic switch means, for opening or closing the switch means, based on the result of the comparison by the comparing means.
2. Device according to claim 1, further comprising means (C2) for filtering the voltage measured at the limiter output.
3. Device according to one of claims 1 or 2, further comprising means
(Cl) for smoothing an output voltage of the limiting device.
4. Device according to one of claims 1 to 3, further comprising means for detecting a rapid increase in the output voltage of the limiter device, and to compare this increase to a threshold value.
5. Device according to claim 4, comprising means for calculating the time derivative of the output voltage of the limiting device.
6. Device according to one of claims 1 to 5, wherein the comparator reference voltage is set to a value greater than the voltage corresponding to maximum power of the photovoltaic module.
7. Device according to claim 6, the reference voltage of the comparator being set to a value greater than the voltage corresponding to maximum power of the photovoltaic module, plus a voltage V strictly positive and less than the voltage generated by an electric arc .
8. Device according to one of claims 1 to 7, further comprising means for adapting the reference voltage value (Vref).
9. Device according to one of claims 1 to 8, further comprising short-circuit detecting means, downstream of the switch.
10. Device according to claim 9, the short-circuit detection means comprising a current sensor (Ims) disposed downstream of the switch and of the second comparison means (Comp2) for comparing a measurement outcome of this sensor has a reference value (Vref2).
11. Device according to claim 9 or 10, further comprising means (HR, AND) forming control means for the means (Zl) forming electronic switch, depending on the result of the comparison by the second comparison means (Comp2) .
12. Device according to one of claims 1 to 11, further comprising first and second switch means (Ul, U2) arranged respectively in input and output of the device.
13. Device according to one of claims 1 to 12, further comprising means (Z2) for absorbing energy between two terminals of the switch means to clipping of overvoltages generated during the opening of these switch means.
14. An apparatus for producing energy, comprising: - at least one photovoltaic module (2, 4,
6), - a device (8) according to one of claims 1 to 13,
- means (10) forming electronic converter, to impose an operating voltage of the photovoltaic module.
EP08709081.7A 2007-02-20 2008-02-18 Voltage limiter and protection for a photovoltaic module Active EP2122432B1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
FR0753383A FR2912848B1 (en) 2007-02-20 2007-02-20 Voltage limiter and protection of a photovoltaic module
PCT/EP2008/051947 WO2008101902A1 (en) 2007-02-20 2008-02-18 Voltage limiter and protection for a photovoltaic module

Publications (2)

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EP2122432A1 true EP2122432A1 (en) 2009-11-25
EP2122432B1 EP2122432B1 (en) 2015-09-09

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EP (1) EP2122432B1 (en)
JP (1) JP5215325B2 (en)
FR (1) FR2912848B1 (en)
WO (1) WO2008101902A1 (en)

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JP2010519748A (en) 2010-06-03
FR2912848A1 (en) 2008-08-22
JP5215325B2 (en) 2013-06-19
US20100164459A1 (en) 2010-07-01
EP2122432B1 (en) 2015-09-09
WO2008101902A1 (en) 2008-08-28
US8570017B2 (en) 2013-10-29
FR2912848B1 (en) 2010-09-17

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